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How a brand new care concept destined for Ipswich could affect people in Suffolk

From left to right, East of England Co-op joint chief executives Doug Field and Minnie Moll with project founders Professor Heinz Wolff and Dr Gabriella Spinelli. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY LTD

From left to right, East of England Co-op joint chief executives Doug Field and Minnie Moll with project founders Professor Heinz Wolff and Dr Gabriella Spinelli. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY LTD

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An innovative project aiming to transform the way communities tackle the social care crisis could soon be launching in Ipswich.

Professor Heinz Wolff and Dr Gabriella Spinelli explaining the Give and Take Care concept. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY LTDProfessor Heinz Wolff and Dr Gabriella Spinelli explaining the Give and Take Care concept. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY LTD

Called Give and Take Care, the start-up – created by Professor Heinz Wolff and Dr Gabriella Spinelli from Brunel University – has already won backing from Ipswich mayor Roger Fern and the East of England Co-op.

It pledges to “help save the NHS”, ease pressure on care homes and reduce the negative effects of a rapidly ageing population.

A pilot scheme launched in Twyford in Berkshire has been successful and the pair now want to bring their ideas to Ipswich.

If implemented in Suffolk, the Give and Take Care model – working with existing charities and volunteers – would see an area with up 10,000 homes made into a ‘locality’ supervised by a locality manager.

East of England Co-op joint chief executive Minnie Moll. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY LTDEast of England Co-op joint chief executive Minnie Moll. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY LTD

Through the scheme, care givers (volunteers) inside these communities help people with daily errands, such as shopping, transport and companionship.

For doing this, they receive GATS – a new currency created by the scheme – for every hour of care they give.

These hours are then banked, and can be used when the volunteer needs care themselves.

Introducing their concept to Suffolk carers and health groups earlier this week, Dr Spinelli and Professor Wolff were keen to stress the model would not apply to personal care, as the scheme would not be CQC registered.

All volunteers would have to undertake DBS safeguarding checks, Dr Spinelli added.

“This scheme is something new we want to bring to Ipswich.

“It is asset based so we won’t be taking over by any means – we will be working with other charities and volunteers,” she said.

“We are the new kids on the block, if you like, and we hope our unique project which aims to relieve pressure on our stretched care services will be successful in Ipswich.

“We are very excited to bring it here.”

Ipswich mayor Roger Fern said he was 100% behind the project.

“I think something like this could really help the care sector in Ipswich,” he said. “This is an excellent opportunity for us to become pioneers in caring for our elderly and vulnerable.

“We are already making a lot of progress to becoming a dementia friendly town and a project like Give and Take Care is something I would be 100% behind.”

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